Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Heart Failure Right Ventricle Diet

Dietary changes for people with cor pulmonale and heart failure include:

  • Control dietary salt: Lower dietary sodium by following a special diet (2-4 grams of sodium per day) that is low in salt. Foods that are high in salt should be avoided.
    • Do not use table salt; consider a salt substitute with your doctor's consent. Season foods with dried herbs, garlic, onion, or lemons.
  • Fluid restriction: Ask your doctor what degree you need to restrict fluid consumption. Ask your doctor how many 8 ounce cups (240 ml) of water are you allowed to drink per day.
    • Remember 2 cups (1 pint or about 500 ml) of retained fluid will equal one pound (2.2 kg) of fluid weight gain.
  • General diet: Follow a proper heart diet, which is low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Most people with heart failure taking a diuretic medication need to eat potassium rich foods.
    • Potassium rich foods include bananas, apricots, raisins, oranges, grapefruit, and peas.
  • Magnesium: Eat foods rich in magnesium. Heart failure drugs can deplete the body's stores of magnesium. This has been correlated with more severe symptoms and a higher death rate.
    • Foods high in magnesium include wheat germ, soybeans, oatmeal, nuts, seeds, low-fat diary items, and seafood.

A generally healthy diet for people with heart disease should include:
  • Control calories:
    • Eat just enough calories to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat quality fats:
    • Use virgin olive oil and other unsaturated, low-cholesterol fats.
  • Eat the right amount of fats, carbohydrates and protein:
    • Limit your fat intake to 20 or 30 percent, but don't substitute simple carbohydrates for fat.
    • Less than 7% of the day's total calories from saturated fat.
    • Up to 10% of the day's total calories from polyunsaturated fat.
    • Up to 20% of the day's total calories from monounsaturated fat
  • Avoid fad diets:
    • Eat a well-rounded diet instead.
    • Eat small, frequent meals.
    • Avoid large and heavy meals.
  • Limit cholesterol in diet:
    • To less than 200 milligrams a day.
  • Limit iron intake:
  • Eat enough dietary fiber:
    • Whole grains are best.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Reduce salt in your diet:
    • Optimal: no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.
  • Check with your doctor about supplementing your diet with B vitamins:

Continue to Heart Failure Right Ventricle Low Salt

Last Updated: Dec 9, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Heart Failure Right Ventricle References
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  2. Budev MM, Arroliga AC, Wiedemann HP, Matthay RA. Cor pulmonale: an overview. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2003;24(3):233-44. [16088545]
  3. Lehrman S, Romano P, Frishman W, Rashid A, Dobkin J, Reichel J. Primary pulmonary hypertension and cor pulmonale. Cardiol Rev. 2002 Sep-Oct;10(5):265-78. [12215190]
  4. Romano PM, Peterson S. The management of cor pulmonale. Heart Dis. 2000 Nov-Dec;2(6):431-7. [11728294]
  5. Weitzenblum E. Chronic cor pulmonale. Heart. 2003 Feb;89(2):225-30. [12527688]
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